Hong Kong shares slip from 3-week highs

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Hong Kong - Hong Kong shares slipped from three-week highs on Thursday, with changes in index components driving major price moves while investors took some profits after robust gains in the past week.

The Hang Seng Index ended down 0.5 percent at 22,165.5 points, while the China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong sank 1.2 percent.

Both had closed on Wednesday at their highest since January 24.

China Coal Energy dived 3.9 percent and Zoomlion Heavy Industry tumbled 4.6 percent after their exclusion from the Hang Seng and China Enterprises indexes, respectively.

One replacement, China Mengniu Dairy, jumped 3.8 percent, while the other - Warren Buffett-backed electric vehicle maker BYD Co Ltd - soared 6 percent.

Want Want China spiked 6.5 percent after Bank of America-Merrill Lynch analysts upgraded the stock by two notches to “buy”, believing new product launches will ease margin concerns and help the company maintain one of the highest profit margins in the Chinese consumer staple sector.

Beijing is due to post January money supply and loan growth data by Saturday, with inflation figures due on Friday.

Trade data on Wednesday handily beat expectations, but there was scepticism given past distortions from fake trade transactions. - Reuters

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